Magic Show

Front Cover
Hayward Publishing, 2009 - Art - 115 pages
Magic Show demonstrates how visual artists adopt the perception-shifting tactics of the theatrical magician to explore questions of creative agency, the power of suggestion, and the fragility of belief. Artists, like magicians, manipulate and mystify not simply for entertainment, but to redress fundamental relationships within the social, political or cultural realm.
This richly illustrated book, with over 100 colour reproductions, contains essays that elaborate on the intersections between art and magic by Jonathan Allen and Sally O'Reilly, as well as texts on each of the 24 featured artists. It also contains new writing on arcane images and esoteric ideas from the cultural history of magic by Simon During, Brigitte Felderer, Peter Lamont, Pierre Taillefer, Helen Varola and Marina Warner; a fold-out collation of texts and images exploring the dynamics of magic, art and power; and an illustrated selection of curious props and off-beat ephemera from the world of theatrical magic.

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About the author (2009)

Jonathan Allen is Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT.

Sally O'Reilly was born in 1971 and is a writer, critic, editor and teacher. She is a tutor at Royal College of Art, London, and teaches at various other universities around the UK. She was Writer in Residence at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 2010/11. She has contributed to Art Monthly, Contemporary Magazine, Frieze, Cabinet, Modern Painters, and Time Out as well as writing catalogue essays for numerous international art exhibitions. Her book The Body in Contemporary Art was published by Thames and Hudson in 2009. Her title Dark Aemilia made the Hot Book Club List in 2014.

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